Sunday, July 9, 2017




We Celebrate the


     One thing about the mission field in Nauvoo....it's pretty much business as usual for the missionaries......with a few caveats thrown in.  For us it was a 7:00 a.m. flag ceremony with the YPM Nauvoo Brass Band providing the patriotic music.  The honor guard that proudly raised the colors at the visitors center was composed of some our military veterans and their spouses.  One of the members of the guard is Sister Judd who herself served in the Navy.  It was a proud moment to watch the Stars and Stripes rise in the early morning light of Nauvoo.  It, unfortunately, was a lightly attended event and our resident missionary patriot who is so concerned about details in the flag ceremony was noticeably  absent......didn't miss him a bit.
     That evening we were in between performances so it was time for a cast part to honor those missionaries that will soon be returning home.  We had hot dogs and hamburgers off the grill and within a hour the festivities were over.  We relaxed the rest of the evening and retired around ten as usual....
      .....and then the fireworks went off again at midnight   Ding......Ding.......Ding....my phone was going wild with texts.  In a dazed stupor I staggered over to see what the commotion was.....

    It was a picture of  Kimball....our youngest grandson holding a sparkler on our driveway in all his glory.  I was so danged tired I couldn't even really enjoy it until the next morning.  We had face timed with all the family who had gathered at the house....including Eric's family who were in Utah visiting for most of July.  Christy was alone in Texas and had face timed us earlier.  All of that was great.....but we weren't there.  We were missing the trauma a grandma going crazy over the fireworks we hadn't event purchased let alone fired. Jaustin wasn't pestering me to go to David's firework stand and get a thousand dollars of high flying rockets that would explode in a colorful array.  Then there was Kimball last year he ran for cover...this year he is embracing the thrill....This picture might not have ever happened if we had been there....grandma would have probably thrown the sparkler in a water bucket before it ever got to the kid's hand.  So in the future...when we look back as this picture....remember...it happened  because we were in Nauvoo serving a mission.  I wonder?....is this another Nauvoo Miracle?


The Pageant Looms Bigger....

                                    ...as "Our Story Goes On".......
     The pageant starts next week and Nauvoo is a beehive of activity.  Not only has the core cast arrived but now the families that support and perform on the stage have started practicing for it.
There are really two separate pageants....The Nauvoo Pageant and the British Pageant.  Each tells a different story...and when we go we will be able to tell you.  Until then...it is just as though we haven't seen it.....since we haven't.  But we have certainly heard them practice as it goes from morning to night on the pageant stage with full volume.
     What we did see is a presentation that the core cast puts on only three times....it is call Our Story Goes On.  From the time that the young mother and father welcome their infant daughter into the world until she is "going home" we listened to song and dialogue that reminded us that we are all here on earth and regardless of time or place we are each responsible for our stories that we write in our own books...it is our story and it goes on through eternity.  It was mesmerizing as we watched and listened....and then we were momentarily distracted as we looked above and saw a stream of May Flies being attracted to the large lights....they too appeared to be mesmerized.

                      ....And the British Pageant Sets its Sail
     Our work on the Women's Pageant Bathroom Trailer, henceforth, christened as "The Queen's  Throne Room" has put us in close proximity to the Pageant stage.  So every morning the British Pageant is rehearsed and we get to hear the music and the dialog.  In the afternoon the Nauvoo Pageant takes over and their voices and music resound through out the lower flats.  The sail mechanism that raises and lowers the sail was replaced this year....seems the old one took several brave souls  , and a couple of helpers with no sense of danger to climb the mast and lower it at the end.  Step aside Salt Lake......a new one has been put in place.....much safer and it even works without pulling the mast rigging down....it is done by a power mechanism......imagine that.  Another Nauvoo Miracle!!

    90-90 on the Trail of Hope......

          ...And We Say Farewell to a Good Friend
     Tuesday morning I did my little checking of weather and saw what we had been expecting for many months now.....the beginning of a long hot summer.  Forecast for the week.....90 degrees and 90 percent humidity.  Traveling down Parley Street I saw a mist hanging over the flats...like a fog in the winter.  As the sun rose and looking toward the temple I found myself in a beautiful quiet setting and so after pondering the moment I took a picture to remember how eerily beautiful it was before I was soaked in sweat for the remainder of the day.  As I worked along and would bend over drops would fall like rain.  Water is consumed in record proportions and yet there is no need for a bathroom.
     We have been progressing well as we remove and replace at least 80 feet of fence a day.  Our best day we put in 120 feet but that was smooth sailing and no reader board cutouts.  So right now we have installed around 500 feet and our estimate is only 1500 feet more to go.  Taking stock of inventory of poles and rails the good (or bad) news is that we only have material for 1000 feet....so we reported the shortage and maybe....just maybe....it will get here before we run out of material.
     We arrived at a gate opening and discovered that one of the posts had been anchored in concrete.  No problem....we called  Elder Hawkins who showed up with his trusty backhoe to remove it.  We continued to put in fence and then I notice him digging in a deep large hole with a shovel.  "What are you doing?", I inquired.  "Well", he replied, "They put a footing under the concrete and I am just trying to find the edge to remove it".  What he had found was the limestone layer of bedrock that encompasses the entire flat area adjacent to the river.  I suggested it was best he  leave it in place....and he "willingly" complied.
    The following morning President and Sister Hall were doing a morning walk and it took them down Parley Street.  They paused to check out to see what we were doing and the progress we were making.  Of course he had to comment on the huge hole Elder Hawkins had dug....thinking we were preparing to bury something there.  It was worth a photo-op and so they obliged and stood next to the tractor not wanting to appear they were doing a check up on the missionaries.
     Thursday was Elder Hacking's last day in service to the Nauvoo mission.  He is an extremely hard worker and experienced craftsman.  Sometimes his precision is a little over board and his memory is
a little failing...but what a great man.  He hands me my "gun" in Rendezvous and if he remembers takes it with him.  If he doesn't I have learned to stand close enough to him to whack him on the shoulder as he leaves as a reminder he has forgotten something.  We have taken several trips and have fond memories of the Hannibal ride with him and his wife and we have learned to love them and appreciate their friendship.....
They will be doing one more Sunset and Rendezvous shows as they extended two months so some of their family members to come during the summer and see them.  They are planning on leaving after the opening of the Pageant on July 11.
     Farewell, Elder and Sister Hacking.....we will miss you and look forward to seeing you again when we return.
      It Started with a Text.....
                            .....and Became a Special Day!!
     A text from my ever so thoughtful daughter-in-law Mindy informed me that the Reusch's, some of my very favorite people from home were on their way to Nauvoo for the weekend and that  while they were here Maddie was going to take out her endowments in the Nauvoo Temple.  I know you have heard me tell of the Nauvoo miracles that happen often here and maybe we could even call this one a tender mercy......so to explain;
     It was Friday and I had just finished a grueling day on the fence line down Parley Street.  I had to make a quick stop at the Queen's Throne Room to see if some sinks had been hung so the mirrors could be installed  and then I was heading home.  Then I noticed the sails on the British Pageant Ship had been raised and I drove around and took a couple of pictures.  It just seemed like a good idea to me to drive down Main Street to take a quick look.....coming down the street toward me, just before the Cultural Hall, was the horse wagon loaded with tourists.   Not wanting to be a nuisance I pulled over in front of the Cultural Hall.  Soon I heard....."Brother Gibson, Brother Gibson".....and lo and behold I had met up with the Reusch's without even trying.  How sweet it was.  The only hard part was fending off the hugs and keeping my arms at bay (this missionary "no hug" thing is really annoying).  It's like being a zombie.
     We met up with them at Sunset, as we had the night off, and watched the show with them.  Since we were performing Saturday we wouldn't be able to attend the temple with them as they had scheduled a 5:00 p.m. session.  We were a little heartbroken but certainly understood when they felt it was necessary to keep the scheduled time.  They were so amazed and really enjoyed the Sunset Show and were extremely disappointed they wouldn't be able to see us....of course, we understood.
     And then.....a text (gotta love some text's)....they had changed the endowment time to 3:00.  We were ecstatic....we could go to the temple and be a part of the session and they could come to Sunset and watch us (for whatever that was worth). 
     Maddie has always been a special soul to me since she was a youngster in Primary and then was also in some of my Sunday School classes.  She was always so upbeat and engaging always willing to share here sweet spirit and immerse herself into the activities.  She is grown into  such an amazing young lady and now she has been called to serve in the "Germany Frankfurt Mission".
At the temple it was a special session and while I would like to share those experiences we had there I think it appropriate to leave it as a memory for me and Sister Gibson.  It was a highlight and memory that will remain forever.  I am sure she will be willing to share them with whoever asks, however.
     But......I will share this.  The YPM's do a little number called "Stomp on my Heart".  Elder Dickson wears this big ostentatious cowboy hat and laments his lost love while scouting the audience for three "volunteers" for his finale and to be participants for the next number "Along Came Jones".  During the show on Friday he kept looking at Maddie and pointing to her with a longing look (part of the act...maybe?..doubt it).....but selected others and that was that.   Nope!! After the performance the Reusch's participated in the Trail of Hope Experience and they ran into Elder Dickson, who had now changed costumes and "hats"  and was performing a different role. They talked for a time and then they moved on.  And that was that.....Nope.   On Saturday when Maddie showed up for Sunset  he didn't miss this time....and Maddie performed on the stage in Sunset.
     Days just don't get much better than this in anywhere!!

Richardson's Point.....The End of the Trail....

            .....for the First Two of Many to Follow
     Sometimes......most times, I am a pretty persistent fellow.  Sometimes....last time.....I should have been.  Let me explain;
     Several weeks ago we took the trip to Keosaqua  what I could find about the early Mormon settlers there since my grandfather Joseph Stallings and his family had lived there for two years before starting west again.  So after a disappointing visit in Keosaqua it was on to Richardson's Point, a site that other missionaries had told me about but never really explained the significance of.  The Google app wasn't  hitting on all cylinders, or at least I couldn't get the info I wanted,  to I was just winging it as we traveled through Lacey Park on the way to highway J-40 where the site was located. I finally figured I had made a wrong turn and so we turned around and returned home.
     Elder Lindeburg wanted to go to Cantril to get a pair of shoes on Saturday morning.  We had plenty of time before the 3:00 temple session and so we headed out.  After shopping at the Dutchman
 Sister Lindeburg had cart full, Elder Linderburg couldn't find a shoe to fit, and I with my straw hat we decided to take another crack at finding Richardson's Point which is supposed to be 13 miles away.  Following a map I had printed we  re-traced the path I had taken....a mile and a half past where I had turned around we found the little makeshift sign that pointed where to turn to find the site behind a large structure that housed pigs....or future bacon or ham.
     As it turns out this was also where the Mormon Trail crossed the area after the Saints had left Bonaparte and continued west.  During that crossing Edmond Little had valiantly jumped in to help Brigham Young's wagon cross the Des Moines River....it was low water but the river is still 200-300 feet across and it was February.  The ensuing sickness that followed took his life a few days later....yet the vanguard company moved on.  When they reached Richardson's Point they made camp for many days.  A 15 month old infant named Tanner died there.  Edmond's body was brought from the Bonaparte area, a wooden box fashioned, and he and the infant were buried at Richardson's Point....becoming the first of the pioneers to die on the trail.  In the coming years there would be thousands to follow.
   It was around 1895 when a farmer named Klodt purchased the ground and found the rudimentary markers that had been placed.  He fenced it off and thus preserved it.  Eventually upgraded headstones were place and a rail fence erected.  Plastic flowers always blossom as a remembrance of the two.
     Walking up to and including the gravesite it is a very peaceful setting.  I ponder often the difficulties and adventures that befell those hearty souls.  It wasn't improved dirt trails they followed...it was wagon and horse tracks that would take them west.

Odds at the End....

     I am constantly...asking....almost begging Sister Gibson for a little creative help in the "Blog"
"Picture's would be nice", I ask.  "How about some stories"....her reply is: "I don't think about pictures and I certainly don't want to tell you some of the things that happen or I hear"  So finally, to her credit she did get someone to take a picture of her and Sister Van Horn cleaning statues in the Women's Garden.
     The little guy in the cage?  There are several morals to this story: 
            Don't make noise under Elder Hawkins house....
            Don't get in his garbage.....
            Don't go in the trap that Elder Hawkins set for you.
Or....
            How about "if you do bad things and wear a mask you will end up behind bars"

Don't know what happened to the little critter.....but I can tell you there are many, many more to take his place or that are lying smashed on the Illinois highways.
    









1 comment:

  1. I am so happy you found the Ruesch's!!!! They are the cutest:))

    ReplyDelete